Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of caregivers’ appraisals of the effectiveness of their own communication strategies on caregiver burden when caring for family members with Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Methods: Family caregivers (N = 84) of participants with AD completed questionnaires appraising communication strategies, problem behaviors, and levels of three types of burden.
Results: Hierarchical linear regression models revealed that effective strategies and kinship status were significantly linked with stress burden, whereas effective strategies and problem behaviors were significantly related to relationship burden. Cognitive status of participants with AD significantly predicted objective burden. Caregivers who rated effective strategies as helpful were more likely to experience lower levels of stress and relationship burden.
Conclusions: Findings provide preliminary support for understanding mechanisms by which the appraisals of communication strategies influence caregiver burden and justify testing empirically derived communication interventions.